It’s officially my second time in Kyoto. My first time round was viewing the city literally from a bus. Apart from the must do Kiyomizudera Temple, I saw nothing else of this beautiful ancient capital of Japan. What a pity. I promised myself that if I ever made the trip back, I was gonna do my best to pack it in as much as possible.
I really only had three full days. On hindsight, I should have spent probably one day less in Osaka and a day longer in the 7th largest city of the country. And the sheer number of Unesco World Heritage sites…..wow…..would need many days just to cover all those. Left to make tough choices, I really had to narrow down where I wanted to see. Plus it was free and easy and the way around was mainly by walking (A LOT!!!!), public buses and a couple of subway stops. But it was an experience I did not regret one bit in spite of the aggravated pain in the feet and tired back.
So many pictures I am gonna have to post but for now, I thought it’ll be neat to zero in on the few key non-shrine/temple sights I chose to visit. Not that many since most of Kyoto’s historic value comes from the numerous religious places. That again, deserves another post together with the few I visited in Osaka and Nara.
On to my choice picks for Kyoto 🙂
To whet the appetite…. a huge towering Torii Gate greeting visitors to the Heian Shrine area.
In central Kyoto, Potoncho, a narrow street offering multitude of food choices welcome visitors trudging through this fairly crowded lane. I had dinner there, alfresco, facing the river which was a nice gathering point for people.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove was a surreal experience. Although there was no fog or mist to enhance it’s mysteriousness, and the sunshine was out in full force that day, it was an energizing yet peaceful walk….
Within this same area around Arashiyama in the Western region of Kyoto, the other iconic landmark is found in the Togetsukyo Bridge. We took a 10 minute rickshaw ride around this scenic area…..that was an experience in itself.
Now towards South Kyoto, one cannot and must not miss the Fushimi Inari Shrines. Technically that should go together with the rest of the photos I’ve taken of these sites, but I couldn’t resist slotting this here. It was an eye opener to see this famed site of thousands of Torii gates. I didn’t make the full climb up. Didn’t think my legs would survive the 2 hours not especially under the hot afternoon kyoto end of summer sun and humidity. But whatever I saw, was enough to take my breath away.
I didn’t take many shots of the Kiyomizudera Shrine, but certainly many of the streets within the Higashiyama District – historic slopes containing well preserved buildings mainly occupied by shops and restaurants. If there’s some sense of nostalgia to be had, this would be the place. Imagining how it must have been like all those centuries ago…..
Speaking of pathways, there was The Philosopher’s Path (哲学の道i) that intrigued me. A pleasant walk on the stone path is a scenic happening Cherry Blossoms viewing spot. Of course I saw none since it’s not the season, but this path’s name is attributed to one of the nation’s most famous philosopher, Nishida Kitaro. He was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily journey to Kyoto University.
Gion at dusk into the night was a pretty exciting district. Again, lots of food and entertainment places. The area ideal for spotting Geishas. I was fortunate enough to see one coming out from a back alley, but wasn’t quick enough to take an impromptu snap as she disappeared into the restaurant so quickly. I did however see pay to see a cultural performance that included a real Geisha and Maiko. That was as close I could get of the real mcCoy!
Ah…..I spotted these two young ladies who were on their way to the temple and they gamely agreed to pose for me. Aren’t they just so pretty!?